Need to Rent a Home? Prepare to Pay About 14% More Than Last Year
It's not just home values that are soaring. Rents are way up, too.
- As of November, asking rents were up almost 14% from a year ago.
- Renters needing to sign a new lease shouldn't hesitate to negotiate to keep their rent costs as affordable as possible.
Last year, landlords were so desperate to lock tenants into leases that they started throwing concessions and perks at them left and right. This year, the rental market is looking very different. Not only is the demand for rentals high, but landlords are taking advantage of the situation by imposing higher rates on tenants.
Of course, it's hard to point a finger at landlords given that many spent the better part of 2021 not getting paid due to the federal eviction ban that was put into place (and, in some cases, state- or city-level eviction bans that outlasted the federal one). During that time, many landlords struggled to pay their own mortgages and bills and are still recovering from that blow. But still, these days, if you're looking to rent a home, you can expect to spend a lot more.
In November, rents for new move-ins were up 13.9% from the previous November, reports Real Page, a real estate tech platform. Meanwhile, apartment occupancy hit a high of 97.5%.
If you need to rent a home but are worried about sky-high prices, here are three steps you can take to potentially snag a better deal.
1. Call out your great credit
When a landlord rents out a home, they take the risk that a tenant won't be timely with payments. But if you're an applicant with outstanding credit, you may be able to use that to your advantage and negotiate a lower rate for your rental.
Granted, you may need to present a really strong credit score -- one in the upper 700s or higher -- to utilize this tactic. But if your credit score is really up there, you can point out the fact that you have a solid history of paying bills on time and are a reliable tenant to rent to.
2. Bring a reference letter with you
If you've rented a home before and were a model tenant, don't be shy about asking a former landlord for a reference letter. Bringing one might sway your new landlord to knock a little money off of your rent if it's more than what you can comfortably fit into your budget.
3. Offer to pay more of your rent up front
Part of the reason landlords charge a security deposit is to protect themselves in the event that a tenant causes property damage or fails to pay rent. Your landlord may be willing to cut you a bit of a break on rent if you're able to pay a few months' worth up front.
Of course, not everyone can manage that. But if you have the money in your savings account, you might snag a discount as a result.
Given how high the demand is for rentals these days, it's not surprising that prices have soared. If you're not thrilled with the numbers you're looking at, don't shy away from negotiating. You never know when a landlord might be willing to be flexible -- especially if that means getting a solid tenant with a strong credit history.
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